I do the "high end, low end mix" a lot. It's amazing how just one high end item can make the whole outfit look higher end. It's one of my favorite tricks. This dress above is from Target...very inexpensive. The boots are Frye...not so inexpensive. Together, they make a cute, unique outfit.
Wondering how to make the high end, low end mix work for you? When it comes to style, I like to look simple, timeless, classy...and "high end". High end does not mean that you have to break the bank and wear everything designer. I actually think that look is "trying to hard". It's too obvious....when you have labels everywhere. That's when the clothes start to wear you instead of you wearing the clothes. It's about investing in the RIGHT things and saving on others. With that said, a label here and there, placed strategically, can go a long way. You just don't want to overdo it.
Some examples of things I invest in: The "staples" that I'll wear a ton in many different ways that are high quality that will last for years. Jeans (some women don't put jeans in this category...for me, it's a must), shoes, boots (I've had those Frye boots in the above pic almost 10 years and they'll probably last my lifetime), leather jackets, classic jewelry, handbags and undergarments. I always consider the "Cost per wear" on these items. Low quality shoes just aren't worth it to me anymore because I don't end up wearing them because they hurt my feet! There's always exceptions, of course. If I only could put one thing in this category it would be jeans, for sure. I practically live in jeans, so I definitely go for quality. These days, you can get great designer pieces without paying the designer price! My favorite stores are the Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet and TJ Maxx. Amazing deals. Between these two stores, I never have to pay full price for the designers I love.
Some examples of things I save on: T-Shirts, tank tops, sweaters, statement or costume jewelry, dresses, and "trends". Whenever I go to Target I head straight for the clothing and look for the tank tops. My favorite ribbed tank top, I think they call it the "long and lean tank", is from Target and it's less than $10. I have them in white, black and gray and I wear them out so it's good to have a few. The thing is, they NEVER have the basic colors in stock. So when I see them, I buy them.
I don't see a need to pay a whole lot for tops in general, I think that's a great area to save money on. If you put on a $10 shirt from Target or $20 blouse from H&M or Forever 21 with a high end pair of designer jeans that fit perfectly, people will think your whole outfit is high end. Or maybe you find a really cute dress at at Target too! Wear it with a nice shoe or bootie or a nice handbag and your look appears totally high end. Like I said, a few labels are okay, but keep people guessing! By putting outfits together this way, you'll look more unique too. When buying lower end, there are certain things to look out for that can scream "cheap". Things like buttons on a shirt or jacket, hardware on a belt, poor fit or certain fabrics can give it away. If you love everything else, you could always change out buttons if you're crafty...so get creative.
Handbags are a great investment as far as I'm concerned. I don't buy a lot of them often, because when I do buy one, I use it for years. I have one special Prada handbag that I got on my last trip to New York...it makes me feel like I could wear a trash bag and look high end! That's just a joke, but it makes any outfit look better:)
Don't be afraid to buy some "investment pieces", just consider the "cost per wear" and make sure it's in your BUDGET!! And like I said before, shop Marshalls, TJ Maxx, outlet stores and high end consignment shops...only on occasion will I buy designer items at full price. TJ Maxx has a section now called "Runway" that carries top designers. One of my very favorite brands is Vince. I have SO much Vince in my wardrobe and there is only one pair of pants that I bought at the Vince store in Soho last year. Other than that, I've gotten everything else at the outlets and TJ Maxx. I also love Gilt.com that offer new sales daily...amazing deals! TJ Maxx has an online store too, so if you can't find your size or don't have a store near you...that's a great option. They carry great handbags too :)
I recently saw a beautiful hat that I fell in love with. It was very expensive...for a hat. I admit, I tried to justify it for a moment. BUT, I remembered my "cost per wear" rule and knew I wouldn't wear it enough to justify the cost. Done...I put it back.
Here's an example of a go-to kind of outfit for me. The skinny "boyfriend" jean and v-neck gray sweater are very basic staples that many probably have something like in their closets already….during the day I might wear it with my white converse tennis shoes for running errands, but then… pair it with a great patent nude heel (my favorite) that elongates the legs and all of a sudden it's "dressed up". Add a colorful high-end handbag, a statement gold cuff... and this "jeans and t-shirt" look gets a higher-end look and feel and I'm ready for a "mini-date" with my husband for drinks and appetizers out on the town!